On our third day of travel, we started off with a quick dip in Lake Michigan – the weather was hot enough for us to swim; the lake was just warm enough but still cool and clean; everything was perfect!
Then Austin and I went to the Museum at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Right outside, we saw this awesome sight:
Tons of Segway riders on a tour of downtown Chicago. (in that picture above, Austin’s going “nerrrrrrrrrrds!”, a la “Revenge of the Nerds”)
Austin and I grew up with an art history-degreed mother who also paints/ sculpts/ does lithography, so there’s both the rebellion against that (“museum? boooooring!”) and the huge amount of knowledge and interest that has leaked into our brains via osmosis.
For example, I was surprised that I recognized a huge amount of painters’ styles (there were a lot of lesser-known works by Impressionist masters), and definitely most of their names. Then I remembered helping mom with her flash cards before finals!
I liked the Impressionist works at the museum a lot, for the most part. I love this self portrait by Van Gogh:
I love his style, because when you get up close, it looks like this, totally 3 dimensional!
Here’s that famous Seurat painting. It was definitely cool in person, but it’s funny how people at museums always act a certain way:
I’m not super into pointillism… mostly cause, well, it’s weird, and kinda yucky up close:
Some other favorites:
Also, I really loved the architecture of the building itself:
There was a really great photo exhibit, too – unfortunately the website doesn’t at all do it justice. But check it out, if you have a chance!
After the museum closed, we walked up to Millennium Park to check out the bean. We were not disappointed!
Okay, so technically it’s called “Cloud Gate”, but we liked “the bean” better.
We loved this thing! All the other tourists did too… Really, pictures don’t quite do it justice (though obviously I had to try). For some reason the thing is just SO COOL!
Next we took a train up to Wicker Park just to see where the hipsters might live, and to give North Chicago a tiny modicum of love, since we really had no overall reason to go there.
Unfortunately, Wicker Park poured down a sudden rainstorm on us, so we ended up a little bummed on it.
Even so, we enjoyed eating at Earwax, and checking out Myopic Books (regardless of ridiculous “High Fidelity” type of snobbery from the one clerk), and would’ve liked to check out the area more. Ah, well, perhaps next time! Austin’s sort of a Jazz Jock anyway, so that’s not really his scene (but, embarrassingly, I guess it’s mine?).
Then we got on the wrong bus (due to a super helpful and supremely incorrect bus driver) back to Michigan Avenue to try to make sunset at the John Hancock Tower. Even though he dropped us off 15 blocks south (as opposed to his claimed 5 blocks south) of the tower, we managed to find Jackie and Marcin and whisk up the 96 (I think) stories to the cheesy little bar/ restaurant up top just in time for the final sunset light to change to night. Very pretty!
We enjoyed overpriced mojitos and stunning views (and I tried not to over think the whole height thing). Jackie kept apologizing for the bit of haze that obscured what I guess is normally a super long and horizon-reaching view, which I thought was funny (being from the SF area, after all. Hello, fog!).
Then she took us down to lower Wacker again, where I caught a quick shot but was really focused on not getting hit by a car:
and out to the spectacular Chicago River view. I love this river – and it doesn’t even smell bad!